Just who benefits from the education reform movement? In countries with charter schools and academies, exam passes and PISA scores have gone down. Teachers’ working conditions have worsened. But someone must be benefiting otherwise why would reformers be pushing so much money into lobbying politicians to open even more charter schools?
With that in mind, ponder this list:
Sir Bruce Liddington, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and head of the Academies Division.He was one of the chief architects of the Academies Programme before sliding seamlessly into the private sector to pocket £300,000 (NZ$600k) pa. salary plus benefits as CEO of EACT Academy chain (England). Source
Former teachers from the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School in Dayton testified at the board’s monthly meeting in Columbus about years of misconduct. Some said they had been afraid to come forward before finding new jobs.”
““I know of one student who failed the 7th grade and then had to repeat the year with the agreement with (an administrator) that she would be promoted to the 9th grade if she passed 7th grade during the second attempt. She indeed completely skipped 8th grade and all associated curriculum,” [testifying teacher] Kochensparger said.” Source
Kings Science Academy, England, was last year investigated and ““serious failings” were found in the school’s financial management with allegations that £80,000 worth of public money had not been used for its intended purpose”. Source
“COLUMBUS, OH—A federal grand jury has indicted four people, alleging that they offered and accepted bribes and kickbacks as part of a public corruption conspiracy in their roles as managers and a consultant for Arise! Academy, a charter school in Dayton, Ohio.” Source: FBI Press Release, June 2014
Michael Gove (ex UK Education Minister)’s favourite Academy chain, run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, is in the middle of a £2m (~$4m NZ) fraud investigation. The Guardian reports “The alleged fraud, which comes after Haberdashers’ Knights Academy was judged by Ofsted in November to have “serious weaknesses”, is likely to raise questions about the freedom given to academies.”
Charter School Fraud Totals $30 Million, Education Groups Launch State-by-State Investigation: “the Center for Popular Democracy, Integrity in Education and ACTION United released a report titled “Fraud and Financial Mismanagement in Pennsylvania’s Charter Schools” that exposes at least $30 million lost to waste, fraud, and abuse in Pennsylvania since the passage of that state’s charter school law in 1997 and was the subject of a Philadelphia Inquirer exclusive”
Drawing on news reports, criminal complaints, regulatory findings, audits and other sources, it “found fraud, waste and abuse cases totaling over $100 million in losses to taxpayers,” but warned that due to inadequate oversight, “the fraud and mismanagement that has been uncovered thus far might be just the tip of the iceberg.” Source
Academy hear teacher, Sir Greg Martin’s pay jumped by 56% last year giving him him a total salary package of £229,138 (~ NZ$460k). “Sir Greg is the executive head of Durand Academy in South London.
The National Audit Office said there were a ‘large number of conflicts of interest’ in the way the academy was managed.” Source
A study of KIPP charter schools found that they receive “‘an estimated $6,500 more per pupil in revenues from public or private sources’ compared to local school districts.” But only a scant portion of that disproportionate funding – just $457 in spending per pupil – could accurately be accounted for “because KIPP does not disclose how it uses money received from private sources. Source
The director of the now-closed New Hope Institute of Science and Technology charter school in Milwaukee, was convicted in federal court of embezzling $300,000 in public money and sentenced to two years in prison. She spent about $200,000 on personal expenses, including cars, funeral arrangements and home improvement.
“The troubled Hartford charter school operator FUSE was dealt another blow Friday when FBI agents served it with subpoenas to a grand jury that is examining the group’s operations. When two Courant reporters arrived at FUSE offices on Asylum Hill on Friday morning, minutes after the FBI’s visit, they saw a woman feeding sheaves of documents into a shredder. Source: The Hartford Courant, July 18, 2014
An FBI raid on a charter school in East Baton Rouge is the latest item in a list of scandals involving the organization that holds the charter for the Kenilworth Science and Technology School. … Pelican Educational Foundation runs the school and has ties to a family from Turkey. The school receives about $5,000,000 in local, state, and federal tax money. … the FBI raided the school six days after the agency renewed the Baton Rouge school’s charter through the year 2019.” Source: The Advocate, January 14, 2014
The head of an an English Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust was ordered to repay £4.1m (~$8m NZ) taken fraudulently.
Not a penny had been repaid as of mid 2014.
“An academy superhead paid £120,000 (~ NZ$250k) a year has told how he deserves a pay rise because his salary is “low” compared with those in other industries.
Liam Nolan, chief executive of Perry Beeches Academy Trust, Birmingham, said a review should be carried out into senior leadership pay in state schools to make the job more attractive.”
The list could go on and on and on. Go do a search for “charter school fraud” or “mismanagement academy” and see the huge raft of worrying reports that come back.
Someone is benefiting from the education reform movement: The big question is, who?
Further Reading: http://academiesweek.co.uk/academy-trusts-how-the-big-five-rate/